When I hear about a St. Louis restaurant getting national publicity, I always wonder if it’s worth all the hype. So last week I decided to check it out for myself.
Balkan Treat Box hit the streets of St. Louis as a food truck in late 2016 and was an immediate hit with local food experts like Sauce Magazine and Whiskey and Soba. Husband and wife team chef owners Loryn and Edo Nalic were serving up Bosnian and Turkish inspired dishes from Edo’s native country. With the support of the St. Louis culinary community behind them, the couple opened their brick and mortar spot in Webster Groves earlier this year.
My wife and I decided to go check it out on a weekday after the lunch rush to avoid any crowds. I found myself asking many questions to the more than pleasant cashier taking our order. The menu is limited but very straightforward which I appreciate as a consumer. As a hospitality professional I also know how it helps the bottom line.
After a difficult decision we settled on ordering the Doner with chicken which comes in somun with cheese, cabbage, tomato, lettuce, yogurt sauce and chips. Somun resembles pita bread but the crust and the interior have two different textures whereas with pita it’s all basically the same. Balkan’s somun is covered with little blisters from being baked in their copper plated wood burning hearth oven. The dish was prepared and seasoned perfectly if not just a little on the spicy side which was a result of some chili pepper mixed into the yogurt sauce.
We also ordered the PATLIDZAN, which means eggplant. This is a vegetarian dish that can be served vegan as well. It has wood fired eggplant in somun, cheese, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, pickles, hard boiled egg, apricot-pomegranate molasses and chips. The star of this dish is the apricot-pomegranate molasses. It complements the eggplant’s smoky flavor and all the other textures. This was also delicious and included flavors I’ve never tasted before. Both dishes were very large portions and were quite filling.
It’s no wonder that Balkan Treat Box has been nationally recognized by the likes of Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit and The New York Times. It’s Great Living in St. Louis when a new restaurant concept with diverse flavors like Balkan Treat Box puts us on the culinary map.
Where Balkan Treat Box, 8103 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves • More info 314-733-5700; balkantreatbox.com • Menu Bosnian, Turkish and other Balkan-inspired fare • Hours 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (or until sold out) Wednesday-Sunday